AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. John B. Goodenough, professor of engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the $450,000 Japan Prize for his discoveries of the materials critical to the development of lightweight rechargeable batteries.
Goodenough, who holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, will be the 25th American to receive the prestigious prize. Honored in the category of “Science and Technology of Environment Conscious Materials,” Goodenough will be honored at a presentation in Tokyo in April. He will receive a certificate of merit, a commemorative medal and a cash award of 50 million yen or approximately $450,000 U.S. dollars.
The Japan Prize, an international award similar to the Nobel Prize, is administered by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan and honors scientists from around the world who have made original and outstanding achievements in science and technology. Forty-five scientists have been named winners of the Japan Prize since it was established in 1985, and three later won the Nobel Prize for their scientific achievements.
Goodenough’s discovery of lithium manganese oxide and lithium cobalt oxide have been critical to the development of lightweight and high-energy density rechargeable batteries that power various portable or mobile instruments. The lithium battery, which is environmentally benign, is replacing rechargeable batteries that use lead and cadmium.
The increasing use of lithium batteries in hybrid and electric-powered cars should make a significant contribution to the environment by reducing the total level of carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline powered vehicles.
Goodenough has received several honors for his research, including last year’s Olin Palladium Award from the Electrochemical Society. He also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the highest rank attainable in the profession.